2.3.1 Write an obituary for Romeo
“Two houses both alike in dignity – From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life.”
Yesterday, Romeo – heir to the great family of Montague – deceased next to his wife in the vault of the house of Capulet. We, the families of Capulet and Montague, mourn the death of our fellow brethren Romeo whom we wreaked havoc on due to both our houses’ ignorance and ill-advised hatred.
Romeo was a mere sixteen years old, when he fell desperately in love with a girl named Rosaline who unfortunately did not return his affection and hence left his desire for love unfulfilled. Ever since his early childhood it was apparent that he was a fairly literate person consuming poetry and showing some genius in composing poetry himself.
He was handsome and intelligent though also impulsive and idealistic.
Never was he interested in violence, he never deliberately inflicted damage upon anybody. One may recall the day when Mercutio was bound for quarrel and Romeo did his very best to prevent further mischief between our two families.
Yet, despite his honourable intentions, his attempt to cool the boiling situation resulted in the death of his fellow Mercutio to whom he had always been a close, loyal and affectionate friend.
Upon his death, Romeo took to the sword and slew Tybalt who had ignited the fighting. For both our families were still caught in the ruthless family feud whereof the cause has submerged in oblivion centuries ago, the Capulets demanded for his execution. Arguing, enough blood had been shed the noble Prince of Escalus banished Romeo.
Everyone, the Prince and we the Capulets and the Montagues, did not know that at this point much more than our rivalry was at stake.
Secretly, Romeo along with his two friends had sneaked in to the Capulets’ feast. Benvolio and Mercutio did so in order to find amusement but also to get Romeo’s mind off his unfortunate affection for Rosaline who had pledged to a life in chastity.
Fate had that Romeo encountered Juliet, daughter to the house of Capulet, who was of an unprecedented beauty of divine proportions. They fell in love at the first glance. They felt so strong an affection that words do not suffice to adequately describe it. Regardless of this, suffice it to say that it was during that very night that both held a clandestine meeting in the Capulets’ orchard during which they confessed their love for each other.
It was due to the hatred between our two houses that they were destined to love in secret. How unfortunate that so perfect a match was unconsciously rendered illegitimate by the blind disdain between two houses of noble descent, us.
For this reason, Romeo sought advice from his friend, Friar Lawrence, who is beyond all family feud and a proxy of the dignity and wisdom of god. Instantly, he found that love should not be inhibited by pointless hatred. He also thought that finally the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets may come to an end when better understanding is fostered by the two families having closer ties which normally would have been unconceivable to be ever achieved as long as each of the encounters between our two houses was destined to culminate in an outburst of violence.
Once the Friar was convinced that Romeo really meant what he said regarding Juliet, that he was deeply and seriously loving her, he performed the rite of marriage and henceforth they formed a secret but ecclesticaly legitimized couple. Everything could have worked out if it had not been for the dramatic clash between Romeo and Tybalt and Romeo’s ensuing banishment.
On the grounds of being banished Romeo had to be much more careful than he had already been. He was to be killed when discovered within the city limits of Verona.
Defying the danger, Romeo rose to a manly role and ascended to Juliet’s chamber where the two spent their rightful wedding night while defying death.
The next morning, Romeo had to leave instantly in order for him not to be discovered by the Capulet watchmen. At first, his love blindfolded him so that that he did not want to leave. We credit Juliet for persuading him not to put his life needlessly at risk. Obeying the Friar’s advice to exile himself to Mantua he went there to await further notice from the Friar who had pledged to arrange Romeo’s return.
Undoubtedly, Friar Lawrence played an invaluable role for Romeo. Not only was he the one person who had real insight in Romeo but also tried to compensate for our, his family’s, shortcomings. Support and understanding have both been neglected by us.
Since the Friar was the only one who could help Romeo in this most desperate of situations he devised a plan, when on top of all that had happened, Juliet had to face the possibility to be forced into a marriage with Paris. A plan that illustrates how dreadful a situation we have created for Romeo.
Hence, knowing of this particular situation the Friar’s plan consisted of Juliet ingesting a drug intended to make her seem dead so that she would be brought to the Capulet’s vault where Romeo should await her arrival as he was to be informed of this ruse by one of the Friar’s servants.
No one among us humans is beyond fate and neither was Romeo. The Friar’s servant did not reach him in his hideout and Romeo yearning for Juliet made his way back to Verona when a faulty message of an uninformed person brought him the news of Juliet being supposedly dead.
He was left with no choice but to return. His love was so deep and profound that he was not willing to live without Juliet which rendered the prospect of being killed in Verona irrelevant. He was a strong person as it takes a lot of determination to act the way he finally did. His attitude towards love was so idealistic that he was not solely driven by sexual desire but rather by real devotion and affection to the one person you only meet once in a lifetime – in his case Juliet.
Upon his return, the kinsman Paris tried to prevent Romeo from entering the vault. Romeo in his grief and affection to Juliet wanted to see her for a last time so desperately that drew his sword and killed Paris.
When he saw Juliet’s body which had seemingly been left by life, he was shaken by her beauty, kissed her a final time and stayed true to himself by taking his life. Tragically, Juliet was still alive as her death was a ruse and when she in turn found Romeo dead next to her she herself showed conviction and united herself with Romeo again by taking her life, too.
Romeo, forgive us. We, the Montagues and Capulets take full responsibility for what has happened.
Had it not been for our feud, who knows what might have happened. Perhaps you could have formed a marvellous couple without having to resort to secrecy. However, even if you had told us, Romeo, we would have been so much biased by our hatred that we might not have listened.
Romeo was ahead of us in virtually every way. Not only succeeded he in what we had not been able to do for centuries – loving our enemy – but he also managed to make it very clear to us that blind disdain only leads to loss and grief.
To honour you, your death and your love, we, the houses of Capulet and Montague henceforth pledge to form closer ties and advocate friendship rather than violence.
To honour you, we will erect golden statues in Verona so that even future generations will remember you.
Now that you rest in heaven, we wish you to be finally happily together with Juliet.
The funeral service will be held on Saturday at the San Zeno Maggiore church in Verona. As a visible sign of acknowledgement Romeo and Juliet shall – by decision of Lord Montague and Lord Capulet – be buried there together in one tomb for never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo. The ceremony will be held by Friar Lawrence.
We are the houses of Capulet and Montague and we want everybody to know how we lost Romeo lest anybody falls for the sweet poison of hatred as we did. May you all be more fortunate than we have been.